Value of Utility Models
Utility models require a lesser degree of inventiveness compared to patents. Therefore, they are also easier to obtain. Granting of utility models is also quicker and cheaper, since only formal preconditions are examined, and not novelty or inventiveness of the invention. However, the maximum duration of the protection offered to utility models (10 years) is shorter than in the case of patents. When assessing usefulness of utility models, it should be compared both to the protection offered by a patent, and the option of obtaining no protection whatsoever. A utility model may be the prudent alternative, when the process of applying for a patent is estimated to be too expensive and time-consuming in relation to the quality and lifetime of the invention, even if the invention would be patentable as such. A patent application may still be converted into a utility model application until conclusion of the application process.